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NEWS IN BRIEF: Progress reported in ABF negotiations

May 27, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RICK MCFARLAND--12/31/08-- A semi-tractor pulls a trailer on the lot of ABF Freight System in North Little Rock.

Progress reported in ABF negotiations

ABF Freight -- The trucking arm of Fort Smith-based transportation and logistics company ArcBest -- and The International Brotherhood of Teamsters both reported progress Friday in negotiations to establish a new collective bargaining agreement.

The current five-year agreement between the trucking company and the union expires on June 30.

A spokesperson for ABF said productive negotiations went on during the week and plans are for negotiations to continue next week. The spokesperson said the company is aware the union has authorized a strike vote but added that is typical and has happened during past negotiations without any strike taking place.

In a news release, Teamsters National Freight Director John A. Murphy described this week's negotiations as difficult but productive. The union also said union's membership voted 97% voted in favor of authorizing a strike should it be necessary.

According to the union, discussions included wages, health and welfare, pensions, sick leave and concerns about autonomous vehicles.

-- John Magsam

U.S., China officials hold commerce talks

Top commerce officials from the U.S. and China agreed Friday to strengthen communications even as they traded complaints about each other's policies, with the meeting a sign that Beijing and Washington are trying to prevent their relations from worsening further.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo spoke about "the recent spate" of actions taken against U.S. companies in China during a meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, the Commerce Department said in a statement.

In turn, Wang expressed concerns about U.S. restrictions on the chip sector, export controls, reviews of outbound investment, as well as America's overall economic and trade policy with China, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement released Friday Beijing time.

Wang's trip to the U.S. is first highest-level visit by a Chinese official in more than two years. It coincides with a push by the Biden administration to improve relations between the two countries after a series of issues, including a reported spy balloon that traversed the U.S. in February and export controls on semiconductors.

China's Commerce Ministry said the meeting was candid and constructive, and that the two sides agreed to "build communication channels" to "maintain and strengthen exchanges" on trade concerns and cooperation.

-- Bloomberg News (WPNS)

Arkansas Index loses 2.25 points for day

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 757.89, down 2.25.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Print Headline: NEWS IN BRIEF: Progress reported in ABF negotiations


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